Phillip F Dore, CPL, Oilpatch Chaplain
Throughout my career, I have often been asked the difference between a field landman and a company landman. I often replay that it is like the difference between the Navy and the Marines.
The Navy and the Marines are the same family. They are both part of the Navy. Both answer to a higher authority, being the President and Congress. The president and Congress provide the objective, the Navy draws up a mission to complete that objective, provides the vehicles, equipment, and weapons with funds from Congress, the training, the bases, as well as protection in the air and the sea. The Marines do the dirty work. They get their orders from admirals who get their orders from the President and Congress. They slog through seawater on to well fortified beaches in order to gain a foothold and take territory. They sleep in the mud, the cold, extreme heat, all while taking heavy fire. Both have their role to play in order to complete the objective given to them by the President and by Congress.
The landman is an arm of an oil and gas exploration company, which in turn answers to its shareholders and other investors. The company landman provides the maps of areas they want leased as well as the financial and legal support. The field landman spends hours upon hours on his feet in the courthouse searching records and then goes out into the field and deals directly with landowners to get leases. Sometimes a field landman is tasked with calling a land owner who has pulled a shotgun on a drilling crew or survey crew. Sometimes the field landman is in the middle of a swamp in August with no cell phone reception, not knowing if he will encounter feral hogs, poisonous snakes, or somebody’s marijuana field or moonshine still, all for the purpose of scouting the drill site to clean up a title mess. Both the company land man and the field land man have their role to play in order to complete the objective set forth by the company, and that is to get oil, gas and minerals out of the ground and sold on the market.
This is the story I often give when I am trying to educate people about my line of work. However, I got to thinking that the same analogy also applies to the home. On the sixth day, God created man, and out of man he created woman. Both men and women answer to God. God gives us the mission and the resources to carry out His mission. God’s mission is for us to love him and follow him, and to make disciples. Like the Navy and Marines, husbands and wives are the same unit. They are the same flesh; she even takes her husband’s name. The husband provides the funding, the shelter, the material tools to make the household go. He provides protection from outside threats. The husband actually has it easy. For one, let’s start with procreation. The husband’s part lasts about nine minutes compared to nine months. The only time a husband will experience pain during childbirth is when his wife is strangling him for making a smart-alecky comment while she is in labor. The wife does the dirty work. She constantly changing diapers, cooking, cleaning, taking kids to school, football practice, dance practice, cleaning up puke, mending clothes and mending scraped knees, you name it. She holds down the fort while he is away at his job. She schedules the repairmen if there’s an emergency or if he can’t fix it; she deals with the annoying door-to-door salesmen and usually answers the phone when the scam artists and bill collectors call. At the end of the day she’s exhausted and gets little sleep. The wife who also has a regular job has the duties of that job in addition to the duties of the stay-at-home wife and mother. The wives who go into the workplace either by choice or to pay an extra bill or two do have a more difficult time gaining employment and good wages. Both the husband and the wife have their roles to play to accomplish God’s objective. The husband is regular Navy, but the wife, well, she is a Marine. So to the men out there, when you see your wife, after you hug her, salute her and shout “Ooh Rah! Semper Fi!”